Detroit City FC (NISA) at Michigan Stars

On Wednesday, November 9th, four days after our last home match of the 2021 season, Detroit City FC made the staggering announcement that it was leaving NISA and joining the USL Championship.

NISA responded.

NISA Press Release:

CHICAGO (November 9, 2021) – The National Independent Soccer Association confirms Detroit City FC’s request to depart the league. They are a quality organization that we wish well – if they respect the legal agreements and obligations the league and the member clubs have forged together. Announcing the jump before the season’s end, and not fulfilling its commitment to the 2022 season, brings into question sporting integrity. Also, it should be the baseline that USSF ensures that order, not chaos, exists in the US system.

NISA, NISA Nation and the NISA Affiliates believe in the mission of creating a true open system based on merit. As a result of these efforts, we have four great, new, independent clubs taking to the pitch this spring; and many more communities will see their independent clubs and players fulfill the dream of completing the path to pro. It is surprising that Detroit City – a historically stalwart supporter of the open system – has chosen “franchise” over “club;” “closed” over “open.”

NISA has many great storylines to carry us into 2022 and beyond. Those are our focus as we continue to champion independent American soccer.

With a new chapter of Detroit City FC history to begin in 2022, the final pages of the NISA chapter needed to be written.

First, the November 13, 2021 match in Los Angeles.  This match is summed up with another NISA press release.

LOS ANGELES (November 10, 2021) – The Saturday, Nov. 13, match between Los Angeles Force FC and Detroit City FC at Santa Ana Valley High School Stadium here has been canceled due to breakthrough positive COVID tests among a small number of LA Force players. The match will be posted as a 0-0 draw. It will not be rescheduled.

The cancellation, made from an abundance of precaution for fans, players and technical staff, was announced by LA Force General Manager Alex Lujan and NISA Commissioner John Prutch. With a strong testing protocol in place, NISA’s been successful at controlling COVID outbreaks throughout the fall season.

The club apologizes to everyone for the inconvenience.

This left a single match to play to close out the year.

The day before the match, the team announced its annual Black Arrow Award for the team’s MVP.  In a season like this, and with a team like this, it was the hardest decision to choose a single MVP.  You could go down the ballot, one by  one, and think, “He deserves it,” and “He deserves it,” for every player on this team.  After the votes were counted, Connor Rutz was awarded the Black Arrow Award.

November 20, 2021
2021 NISA Fall Season Regular Match
Romeo High School, Washington, MI

Michigan Stars 2, Detroit City FC 3
DCFC  Connor Rutz (Darwin Espinal) 7′
MSFC: Thomas Suchecki 23′
DCFC  Pato Botello-Faz (Darwin Espinal) 36′
DCFC: Yazeed Matthews 63′
MSFC: Steve Juncaj 77′


On a very chilly Saturday afternoon, where light snow flurries had danced an hour or so before the start of the match, City wrapped up the NISA season at Romeo High School in Washington, Michigan.  Our opponent was one who came to our table in the 2013 NPSL season, then followed us to NISA.  After this evening, their ride on our coattails would end.

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Starting XI

Tatenda Mkuruva – GK
Carl Schneider – D
Devon Amoo-Mensah – D
Israel Espinoza – D
Andres Chalbaud – D
Joseph Aidoo – D
Steve Juncaj – M
Thomas Suchecki – M
Alexandre Frank – M
Kyle Nuel – F
Leon Maric – F

Starting XI

Nate Steinwascher – GK
Stephen Carroll – D
Javan Torre Howell – D
Tendai Jirira – D
George Chomakov – M
Kevin Venegas – M
Cyrus Saydee – M
Connor Rutz – M
Maxi Rodriguez – M
Darwin Espinal – F
Pato Botello-Faz – F

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City opened the scoring in the 7th minute.  Darwin Espinal passed the ball to Cyrus Saydee, who tapped it back.  Darwin then slipped a pass through the defensive line to Connor Rutz who danced in alone and scored.


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The match leveled in the 23rd minute, but City regained the lead 13 minutes later.  While trying to get out of their zone, Defender Andres Chalbaud had the ball stripped from him by Darwin Espinal.  Espinal thread it through to Pato Botello-Faz who slotted it into the goal.

2-1 Detroit.

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Detroit put the game out of reach in the 63rd minute when Cyrus fed the ball to Yazeed Matthews.  Matthews back-heeled it to Cyrus, who then slipped the ball through to Jimmy Filerman.  Filerman’s shot was stopped by the keeper and rebounded to Matthews who buried it into the wide open goal.

3-1 Detroit.

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On a whole, the match was at times fast-paced, and at times a chippy affair.  The opponent was spotted another goal in the 77th minute, but was out-cheered as the visiting Northern Guard Supporters had every reason to celebrate the conclusion of the match.  Detroit would be leaving with trophies from every season and tournament NISA presented during City’s two years in the league.  There was the anticipation of moving up a level in the United States soccer landscape.  And finally we were leaving behind tonight’s host who have been the reverse image of Detroit City FC since 2013.

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The 2021 NISA Fall record wraps up.
18 matches.
14 wins.
3 draws.
1 loss.
45 points.
35 goals for
10 goals against
+25 goal differential

Forward to 2022.


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